Gary's Third Pottery Blog

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Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! Come see me! Open studio HERE! November 25-26 (11-4 each day); Aurora Art and Design, daily until 12/24; Cooperstown Art Assoc. daily until 12/24; Ellis Hollow Community Fair, 12/10; December 10, Little Red Wagon at the Space at Greenstar. All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

CRUSTY… a potter's workplace

Who could guess that pictures of my filthy workplace might make a good post? It probably doesn't, but I am doing it anyway, with Yogi! (Yogi being my neighbor's dog that I babysit almost as much as my own dog…more if you count the fact that Yogi works with me in the studio because he lies quietly and my own dog eats clay, cute and sweet as she is….)

Meesh mentioned that she had cleaned her tools to switch  to white porcelain work.  They use a dark clay most of the time, and porcelain is the whitest of whites, so you understand the need for clean.  BUT really, otherwise, what potter needs to clean up?????????? My wheel is 22+ years old and has never been cleaned….

I do use white stoneware, first of all, because it is a clay that doesn't look dirty when it hits the floor or covers a tool.

I thought I would explain my work practices.  First of all, nobody needs to eat at my workspace.  And it is actually a pretty tidy space, by some potter standards.  The fellow I apprenticed to never cleaned anything either, why would you?  The next day you're back in there making a mess.  Once a week I vacuum up the floor, and sometimes I clean my tools into the wheel's drip tray.  Which leads me to clay scrap:  all my clay scrap ends up in my drip tray, where it sits overnight, then I blob it onto a bat to dry a day or 2 then it gets wedged into the next pots.  That way I never accumulate clay scraps, you see?  (my main job as an apprentice was turning his 3000 pound pile of dry clay scraps into useable clay…can you see why I have a system where all scrap is made useable right away?).  As far as washing my tools, it is easier to just scrape a dry and crusty tool into the drip tray, why wash clay down the sink?

I am curious what other potter practices are out there? Are you uptight and scrub your wheel and tools every day and make tidy little piles or buckets of clay scrap?


Caroline said...

That sounds like a good system.

Michèle Hastings said...

Jeff's wheel looks like yours :-)
I clean up my wheel when switching to porcelain (as in my post) and when we have students that have to use it. I also clean it AFTER the students... I am just a little picky about other people's slop.
Recycling clay on a regular basis is a good habit... one that I have fallen out of. I am going to try to do better this year.

smartcat said...

I clean brushes all the time, everything else as needed.

bartster said...

I "clean as I go". The goal for me is to minimize dust from dried clay. That said, because I'm a hobbyist and a slow thrower the cleaning probably slows me down further. The idea of using the splash pan for scraps works well. A recent video shows Michael Casson using water from his splash pan as a bucket. Hmmm. I think mine would leak!

Your pottery shop sounds great plus you have staff like Yogi and Penny!

Ron said...

Hey man. I am a bit more of a neat freak. I like things to be pretty clean most of the time. If it gets covered in dry clay or things start to pile up I literally have a minor freak out and go into hyper-boy mode and clean all that s*#t up. I try to keep up with my reclaim but it's a bit easier for me to do in the summer. I have 3 buckets of scrap that I need to put out on plaster. And I do love my BlueBird pugmill to mix that back in with new clay.

Kim Foale said...

Heh. I like your system very much. My idea of cleaning is to close the door.

sddonlon said...

Thank you for posting this!! I think every potter has their own methods. I used to clean everything at the end of the day. That lasted about 3 months. Now as needed. Currently, my "studio" is outside, and all sorts of stuff gets in my drip tray. Bugs, leaves, general weird stuff. Makes recycling a little more difficult.
But starting in March, I'm going to build a studio, making life a little easier!!!!

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I am a full-time studio potter, sculptor, and dog walker, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.